Pepro LLC

Report from the Field - Boston

Jul 01, 2013 | Posted in -- The Pepro Blog

If you've been to the 4th of July fireworks from Boston's Hatch Memorial Shell, or even seen them on TV, you've witnessed an event made safer by Pepro's mobile radio site, and you can thank a gusty wind on Cape Cod 10 years ago for the added protection. Elliot Derdak, Communications Systems Engineer at Boston EMS, explains that he went to a conference there to find a rugger mobile shelter that could serve the needs of 61 cities and towns in the greater Boston area.

According to Derdak, a strong wind blew through and all of the vendors exhibiting at the show rushed to bring down their towers, except one. Pepro's articulated tower design meant it could stand when others were in danger of toppling. When you are providing hospital and ambulance communications for more than three million people, you need to be able to withstand a hurricane.

Using a grant from the federal government that covered 75 percent of the cost, Derdak ordered a four-bay trailer with an 85 foot tower and eight base stations installed, at the time the largest Pepro had ever built. "They built it the way we wanted it," he says. The intent was to use the mobile site for planned shared operations events in the metro area that required the services of multiple EMS services. For five years, that included the famous July 4th concert and fireworks display on the Charles River.

The 24kVA generator provides all of the power the unit needs "with plenty of reserve" according to Derdak, and he has never had an issue with operation. Set up typically requires two to four people, "because it never goes out with the same channels in use" he explains, but take down is far easier thanks to the shelter and tower design.

The Hatch Memorial Shell finally has a permanent tower site, so you won't see the Pepro shelter on your television next July, but it's still in use seven years after Boston EMS took delivery. "It's there when we need it," Derdak says. And he can count on it like fireworks on Independence Day.